Iggy Stardust: Rookie scores on walkoff

May, 10, 2011
BOSTON -- The kid, playing in just his second game in the majors, had broken for second on the full-count pitch, giving him a great head start when Carl Crawford launched a drive off the wall in left-center field.

But then Crawford saw Jose Iglesias decelerate as he got to second, and he blanched.

“I saw [him slow up] just a little bit, and I was yelling ‘go, go’,” Crawford said.

That was roughly the same advice imparted by a screaming sellout crowd at Fenway Park, one that surely drowned out the soft-spoken Crawford. But Iglesias figured it out on his own, picked up his pace, and slid home just ahead of a strong relay from Twins shortstop Matt Tolbert to score the winning run in Boston's 11-inning, 2-1 win over Minnesota Monday night.

Iglesias has yet to have a big-league at-bat, but in two days he already has worn two different uniform numbers and found himself at the bottom of a mosh pit, as teammates, including Dustin Pedroia still carrying his bat, poured out of the dugout.

Some of those teammates made a beeline for Crawford after his second walkoff hit in eight days, the first a ninth-inning single to beat the Mariners on May 1.

“Walkoffs always are nice,” Crawford said. “You always feel good about it at the end of the day, I’d do it every time if I could.”

Iglesias modeled No. 68 in his debut Sunday, then switched to No. 76, the number he wore in spring training, for Monday's game.

Iglesias had been held up from taking the field on Sunday because teammate Marco Scutaro hid his glove behind a TV camera just when he was supposed to take short as a defensive replacement for Jed Lowrie in the ninth inning.

Monday night, Iglesias replaced Lowrie again, this time as a pinch runner after Lowrie drew a one-out walk from Jim Hoey, the Twins' fourth pitcher of the night. Crawford had run the count full, which is why Iglesias was on the move when Hoey came to the plate with a 95-mile-an-hour fastball.

Crawford, who had hit safely in the first eight games of May but had gone 0 for 4 Monday night, made solid connections this time.

The play at the plate was closer than it should have been, especially given Iglesias' speed. "He was probably running about as fast as he’ll ever run," Francona said.

But Iglesias did not make a good read of the ball coming off the wall. Francona chalked that up to inexperience, this being just Iglesias's second season of pro ball.

“I don’t want to say bad read,'' said Francona, who refers to Iglesias as "Iggy." "I thought he could get a better read, and he will as he’s around here more.''

As for Iglesias, this was just another reminder, Totito, that this isn't Cuba anymore.

“It’s great, you know,'' he said. "That’s the first time this has happened to me. And we won, so I’m happy for the team, too.”
Brendan C. Hall joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools reporter/editor in May 2010, after four years covering high schools for The Boston Globe. The Westminster, Mass. native also served on the Globe's Bruins beat in 2009.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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